CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Black History project at Purcell Marian High School is getting a lot of attention after pictures surfaced online with some saying the history lesson went too far.
The pictures being shared on social media show a sign above a door saying “Colored PPL Only” and sign saying “Colored” with an arrow pointing down to a water fountain. The images have stirred up some emotions in the East Walnut Hills community.
“I feel like it’s inappropriate -- extremely -- especially because they are supposedly the most diverse school in the city and I feel like it’s offensive,” said Jada Wheeler.
Wheeler is a former student at Purcell Marian High School. She says that her friends at the school were also disturbed by the images and shared the pictures with her.
“I think that’s way too far I don’t think the administration should have allowed even allowed the students to do that," she said.
Andy Farfsing is the principal at the high school. He gave FOX19 a tour through the hallways and says the pictures being shared online to people outside of the school do not fairly reflect the project.
"What we have on our walls is a carousel of our shared history and our students are learning," said Farfsing.
As you walk through the building each level has a different theme, from inspirational quotes, to images of historical figures. Zach Hoover, who is a sophomore at the high school, helped make the signs that some are now calling offensive.
"A few of us we put colored as that's how it was segregated back then. Whites had their own fountains, blacks had their own fountains and so we weren't trying to make fun of anybody. We were trying to show this is what it was like," said Hoover.
Hoover and several of his classmates say the student-led black history project has helped facilitate important conversations about race and American’s past.
"I don't think we talk about it today as much as we should and really acknowledge what went on back then," said Hoover.
“It helped me to understand a lot of different aspects of history and what went on in America,” said Bryan Warah, who is a senior at Purcell Marian High School.
While many schools take on the traditional lesson out of a textbook, Principal Farfsing says he wanted to do something different by letting his students use their voices and creativity through art to tell America’s story even if it makes some uncomfortable.
“We have to acknowledge the sins of our past so we don’t repeat them so we can make sure that our future generations never experience that which we worked so hard to change,” said Farfsing.